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Making the Grade

By Angela Marseglia, B.Ed., MA

I often receive panicked phone calls at this time of year from parents who are worried that they have missed the boat on getting appropriate help for their child. Now that the winter holidays and March Break are behind us, they can see that the end is closer than they thought. “How can my daughter turn her C’s and D’s turn into A’s or B’s with less than 3 months left in the school year?” they ask. There is of time left to catch up and to pick up grades before June. Having the right attitude and identifying your child’s real needs will help them reach their goals.

Having that “can-do” attitude is essential for students and parents when setting goals for improvement. Maintain a positive outlook—no matter how discouraged your child gets—so they learn that it is okay to fail as long as we learn from our failures. For example, if your child does poorly on a test, find out why. Did they not study enough? Be sure to set up a study plan for the next test so they are prepared. Did they not understand the materials? Encourage your child to make this clear before the test so they may get help from the teacher. Maintaining a positive dialogue with your child well help encourage them and keep them motivated, even when they are not successful. Remember to celebrate all achievements—even the very small ones—to build your child’s confidence so they believe they can succeed.

Staying connected with your child’s teacher and staying focussed on their needs will help your child achieve success. If you have concerns, address them immediately. Is your child progressing, even though they are having difficulties? Does he or she understand the material presented in class? Is it difficult for your child to follow directions or stay organized? If the same problems are resurfacing year after year, it may be an indication that supplemental resources and programs are necessary to help get your child ahead. Speak with the teacher to find out what additional help is available for your child.

One last word of advice is not to get caught up in grade expectations for the end of the year. Remember that grades can be subjective, and more often the learning skills are important in determining the long-term success your child can achieve. Learning does not have to stop when last school bell rings. Programs are available all summer long to help your child develop the skills they may lack so that they can be successful life-long learners.

Thanks to contributing author Angela Marseglia. Angela has been an educator for 17 years and is the Director at Oxford Learning in the Beach. For information about tutoring, supplemental education or the summer programs call, she can be reached at 416-686-1430 or beaches@oxfordlearning.com

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